Miss Finland Takes Victoria Oaks; Has Other Goals

Miss Finland is set to campaign in the Northern Hemisphere after landing her third major win of 2006 in the Victoria Oaks (Aust-I).
Unsurprisingly, handler David Hayes first wants to win next year's W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) with her.

Miss Finland belatedly supplied the Hayes family's Lindsay Park with a first Flemington Oaks success after a half century of attempts, most by the late Colin Hayes. Every major in the country fell to Lindsay Park, but the Oaks steadfastly refused to yield, until Nov 9.

Coming off a luckless sixth behind stablemate Fields of Omagh in the Cox on Oct. 28, Miss Finland outclassed her 15 rivals in the 146th edition. She and Craig Willaims won the $450,000 (Australian funds) classic as a 6-4 favorite should, by 2 1/4 lengths in 2:37.16 for the 2,500 meters, a tick over three seconds outside the race mark.

Tuesday Joy (Carnegie--Joie Denise by Danehill), also heavily supported to run at 9-4, finished gamely for second, but the immature and highly promising stayer could not match the winner's tactical speed.

The 'Tuesday' in her name refers to when the Melbourne Cup (first Tuesday in November) is run and 2007 could be her year.

Anamato (10-1), like the winner a Redoute's Choice daughter out of the Hayes' barn, raced on the pace throughout and clung grimly to third place, 1 1/4 lengths from Tuesday Joy.

But the Thursday classic was all Miss Finland. She's is the first to add a Victoria Oaks to success in the Golden Slipper (Aust-I), although Bounding Away won a Slipper and an Australian Oaks (Aust-) at Randwick.
On Oct 18, Miss Finland, became the second to win the Slipper-1,000 Guineas (Aust-I, 1,600 meters) double.

The winner traveled well for Williams after taking up residence forward of midfield two out from the rail. Once she settled, the result appeared telegraphed.

Miss Finland is from Forest Pearl, an unraced U.S.-bred daughter of Woodman and Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner Moonshell (Sadler's Wells), a sibling of King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) winner Doyen.

Jointly bred by Arrowfield with the late Sheikh Maktoum's Gainsborough Stud, she is from the third wave by Redoute's Choice. Through English agent Grant Pritchard-Gordon, Arrowfield bought back the filly for $450,000 at the 2005 Australian Easter yearling sale to resolve the partnerhsip.

Arrowfield CEO John Messara, the managing part-owner, said he would like to campaign the filly in Europe next year.

"There are many options, but the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) would be a worthy target.

"Our horses are as good as anywhere in the world and she's the best we have at the moment," Messara continued.

"I'd like to launch Redoute's Choice on the international stage and I consider she'd be a good ambassador for that," he added.

Redoute's Choice is one of three Danehill sons rostered at Arrowfield and appears the Great Dane's most likely successor, in taking over at the head of the general earnings' list last season.

In a reversal of the agreement in which Teruya and Katsumi Yoshida allowed Arrowfield to send a small group of mares to Sunday Silence before his death, Shadai will send several mares to Redoute's Choice to northern time next year.

Snitzel, one of 16 sons of Redoute's Choice already at stud in Australasia, shuttles to Shadai in 2007.